Demystifying Medicine One Month at a Time

Sensible Ideas

patient-paradox-why-sexed-up-medicine-is-bad-margaret-mccartney-paperback-cover-artHappy New Year.

I came across this very reasonable list of healthy behaviors and thought I’d post them here for your enjoyment and commitment to be healthy in 2013. They come from a Scottish GP named Margaret McCartney, who writes frequently about common sense medical care on her blog, for the British Medical Journal, and for the Manchester Guardian. She’s also the author of the excellent book The Patient Paradox, which is unfortunately not in print in the U.S. (but you can order it from Amazon UK among other places):

Don’t smoke.
Don’t drink excessively, and not every day.
Eat a wide variety of foods, mainly fruits and vegetables.
Exercise daily, and if you can, make it sociable.
Have a job you like.
See people and do things you enjoy.
Stay reasonably trim.
And don’t be poor.

That last one is not meant to be cheeky–it simply refers to the fact that in terms of health outcomes, those at the low end of the income scale are proportionately more likely to die sooner than the rest of us.

And by popular demand, I’m again embedding the popular video “23 1/2 hours” below; it’s another evidence-based guide to being healthier in a simple fashion. It really comes down to moving our bodies–and the data shows that the benefits of SOME moving are much greater than more vigorous moving in those who already exercise. Nevertheless, if you’re already exercising, work on eating less, and making what you eat more fruits and vegetables. The point is simple–walk a minimum of 30 minutes per day. Do it with someone. Park farther away when you drive places. It won’t hurt you.

Go forth and walk!


  1. Jorge Stanham

    No comment. Just to suscribe and be in your loop.

    Dr Jorge Stanham
    General Internal Medicine
    US & UK Embassies Medical Advisor
    Montevideo URUGUAY
    South America.

  2. Ros Elder

    Thank you for this down-to-earth video.

    I’m a professional in the field of exercise so when people come to me, they are already somewhat motivated. Our exercise studio is a very happy place. People leave with eyes bright, breathing fully, & standing straight. This has got to be good for them.

    Keep up the good work.

    Ros Elder, ACE certified personal trainer
    Owner, Total Pilates Studio

  3. Wayne T. Johnson

    One of the often-overlooked benefits of big-city living that contributes to health is the incentive it provides to w a l k , especially since sidewalks abound and parking places frequently don’t. My out-of-town relatives quickly learned that when they came to visit for a few days, the trick was to find a free, twenty-four hour parking place near my home, and just leave their car there for the duration. Around town, we either walked or took a bus.

    For my part, I discovered years ago that walking to work — about a mile — enabled me time to think, plan, and observe, and even develop a nodding acquaintance with shop keepers along the way. Without the need to steer, and brake, and dodge reckless drivers, I could appreciate the beauty of fresh snow and crimson cardinals flitting through tree branches. That left me in a benign frame of mind for the start of my work day. And since I worked on the second floor, climbing the stairs yielded extra exercise and spared me from monotonous waiting for an elevator. Walking affords me a resolution to impatience. WTJ

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